Ironically, my previous post does not contain "a last thought" about the Bardo Museum--there is more to say. I have babbled on and on about its wonders for awhile, thinking that few people knew of it. And now the entire world has probably heard about it due to the tragic events on Wednesday, March 18.
According to witnesses, three men with backpacks had coffee in the café across the street from the Bardo entrance gates. When they saw a couple of tourist buses arrive, they walked into the Bardo parking lot, pulled out Kalashnikovs and opened fire on the buses. Around twenty people were killed and forty people injured, mostly women. The men then ran into the museum and took hostages. It is Spring Vacation, a time when excursions for students take place...a lot of kids were around.
The BAT (Brigade Anti-Terroriste) quickly arrived and had the situation under control within two hours with no further loss of life--except for two of the three terrorists.
This is a wakeup call for the newly-elected government. Terrorists have taken advantage of the continued "transition" periods that have dragged on for four years and that undermine government authority. Tunisians are not only upset and shocked, but truly angry. Nothing like this has ever happened before. The weapons flowing in from Libya on black markets have strengthened criminal groups, especially those that have a "political" agenda.
My sketchbook page today contains a distressed and perplexed Poseidon, which is based on a Roman mosaic in the Bardo. He is faced with a Kalashnikov and grenades.
Unfortunately, this attack can be interpreted as an attack on Culture as well as on foreigners, tourists, tourism, and the government. It is a tragic event that parallels the attack on "Charlie Hebdo." So many Tunisians proclaimed their solidarity with the French in their hour of need with "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie"). We hope the French will reciprocate. "Je suis Bardo."